Benefits

In an effort to keep working parents, some employers are building their own daycares

Over half of US working parents who pay for childcare estimate they’ll spend at least 20% of their salary on daycare this year. This is how employers are helping.
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· 3 min read

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School’s out for summer, but it’s not all fun and games—not for working parents who are stressed out, scrambling to balance work and childcare.

Between summer-camp price hikes and Covid cancellations—complicated by schedule shifts at work or home, and other parenting challenges like the formula shortage—parents are burning out and even exiting the workforce. Some employers are trying to reverse the trend through on-site daycare, childcare stipends, and increased workplace flexibility.

Report card. There are 63 million parents of children under 18 in the US, just over 10 million of whom are single parents, per the US Census Bureau. Over half of US working parents who pay for childcare estimate they’ll spend at least 20% of their salary on daycare this year, according to Care.com’s June Cost of Care survey, and just 10% of US workers said their employers offer childcare assistance, reported Fortune.

Extra help. Insider reported that employers can help reduce employees’ childcare-related stress by providing flexible hours and remote-work options, backup childcare, or subsidizing summer camp programs. Dana Sumpter, associate professor of organization theory at Pepperdine’s Graziadio Business School, said right now, parents “desperately need employer and manager support.”

Some 57% of employers plan to “prioritize childcare” this year, finds Care.com’s 2022 Future of Benefits report, with a focus on flexible arrangements, rather than on-site childcare. For companies that already provide childcare-related benefits, 90% say they have helped their recruitment and retention efforts.

In April, Axios reported that Walmart’s new headquarters in Missouri would have on-site childcare for 500 children (though what it may cost employees was not announced). And as hospitals struggle to retain healthcare workers, some are building childcare centers to retain their staff.

For employers (especially small businesses) that aren’t sure how they can help their working parents, Cheryl Oldham, VP of education policy for the US Chamber of Commerce, recently suggested “third-party intermediaries that could really help your employees, but also can support you as an employer in helping you to develop the kind of a benefit structure you might want to provide.”

Next marking period. As the US braces for a recession, workers will be increasingly looking for ways to cut costs. We bet they’d consider complimentary, after-hours babysitting the ultimate fall perk.—KP

Do you work in HR or have information about your HR department we should know? Email [email protected] or DM @Kris10Parisi on Twitter. For completely confidential conversations, ask Kristen for her number on Signal.

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

HR Brew keeps you effective in the fast-changing business environment.